Saturday, May 31, 2008


I just realized that it was nine years ago today that I moved from the Twins Cities up to the Fargo-Moorhead area. Wow! And I have only lived in two places! That is downright amazing!
Last night I made a trip to my storage area and hauled back all my bookmaking stash! Cardboard, Davey board, large sheets of pretty paper, watercolor paper sheets, and a few other odds and ends.

If I am going to make any larger sketchbooks or journals, I need to see what I have, right? Larger sheets of pretty paper--so important. I have some secret plans! :)

I am glad I did it last night because I didn't sleep well at all today--and woke up with the hiccups, of all things! Silly! Have been writing letters, watching movies & TV, and playing & cuddling with Karma. Pretty quiet up here in the North country--hehe!

Friday, May 30, 2008


Look what came yesterday from my friend, Ruby!!
With some pressed four-leaf clovers inside one of the Fisherman's Friend tins!
Don't you just love the Fisherman's Friend lozenges tins?! I don't remember ever seeing these before. It will be a shame to have to cover his face with a sticker later. I might have to save one to use for something else, just to keep one uncovered--hehe!

I have definitely been on R&R. Probably more tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


What a fun day yesterday!!! :)
First of all--here is the Pentel Pocket Brush Pen that Jennifer picked up for me at Wet Paint in Saint Paul. Jennifer got one, too--an early birthday present from Tickpuppy--her birthday is Friday. She let me try hers and it is great! Has lots of strength, bounce, and comes back to such a sharp point--nice!

Took a while for me to get the ink flowing in mine last night, but I finally did. I really want to learn how to write a few things in the Chinese characters--at least my name--hehe! This will work nicely and has permanent deep black ink. People use them for sketching, too. And since it is permanent ink, you should be able to do watercolors right over it without it bleeding. Thank you, Jennifer, for doing that for me!! :)

Okay--here is the sorry little book that I made in that two-day, mini-seminar (as an option in my art class at Concordia) about six years ago or so. This is the tiny book--with all its glaring mistakes and glue smudges and misfit, too-few signature pages--that set me on the road to buying up materials for my "some day" bookbinding projects!!

I can really chuckle now! The professor said to cut the signatures half an inch shorter than the length of the cover. Well, I didn't know she meant the entire cover--front and back--laid flat--hehe! Which would have meant they'd have been 1/4 inch shorter than the cover, of course. My inside cover green paper was too short, too! Luckily I had thought I had to cover the inside of the cover with the same paper as the front and had used way too much--was upset that it didn't cover the whole inside (I am chuckling as I write this, even!)--so my scrawny inside green paper still covered up the bare cardboard. Always a silver lining, right?

She said 1/2 an inch shorter than the cover--she got 1/2 an inch shorter than the cover--ROFL!! I wasn't the only person to have heard the instructions that way, either. A couple other people have probably kept their funny, stunted little handmade books, too--hehe! This is probably not that amusing to other people, but it absolutely cracks me up!

We had about 8 people out of the drawing class that wanted to try bookmaking. We were over to the side of the room trying to be quiet while the other people were drawing. It was rather chaotic, actually. The professor had never done this before--had just learned herself and was all enthusiastic about bookmaking--but I think deeply regretted making this spur of the moment offer by the end of the second day--chuckle! Or regretted the lack of planning, maybe.

I have never regretted my goofy little book. I was hooked! Being a reader and book lover--(as is Jennifer!!)--actually constructing a book is like a fantasy! And yesterday--I finally got to use some of the materials I had gathered over these last few years!! Hurray! The excitement was palpable!

Learning something brand new--what more could somebody ask for? Well, for good company and a lot of laughing, of course!

Jennifer was following instructions for making over a composition notebook with file folders--two parter:
Jennifer's turned out better than the girl's who made the video!!
Then--here I am--very serious--intently learning the kettle stitch for coptic binding. I was basically following this video--for the stitching:
I realized, I always look tired. If I am not laughing, I look like I am going to fall asleep on the spot--hehe!
Here's Jennifer's first masterpiece!

This heavy paper will take a lot! Collage, inks, colored pencils, etc. It is thicker paper than the Moleskine sketchbook, so Jennifer is going to see if watercolors will bleed through like the Moleskine or not. :)
The girl left a string on the bottom and attached beads and charms. Jennifer didn't know if she was going to do that. I can't remember now if she already had cut that off or not--hehe! But--the next thing Jennifer will do is decorate the cover--front and back. Can cover the journal with pretty paper, paint it, collage it, whatever she wants.

And here's mine.

It is small--5 X 6 inches. A tiny, pocket size watercolor journal. The guy in the video didn't use any eyelets and didn't use a "covered" cover. I just wanted to do it this way.

Look! My pages fit the book! hehehe!

Cheerful inside paper--that fits the cover--hehe!
The book doesn't close flat because it is watercolor paper and so much heavier than regular drawing or writing paper. But what I love about the coptic binding is that the book will lie flat when you are using it, so it is perfect for artwork or for writing.

My stitching--well, I did mess it up in a few places because I have never done it before, but it didn't turn out too badly. This video was supposed to be a simplified version and I think it was a good one to start with.
I can see why they say a curved needle is a handy thing to have. At first it was awkward, but after you got the first signature sewn in--it worked easier than the straight needle the guy in the video was using. Glad I bought those!
This is the method that I want to use for the thick leather covered journals I want to make--just two hunks of leather, some eyelets, and sew the signatures together. [I do need extra long eyelets, tho, to do that. So, my plans for buying a little watercolor paint in June---well, I am buying up some bookmaking supplies instead. I wasn't going to have a lot left over anyways. But, thanks to the government, I will be ordering my KitchenAid mixer--woohoo! So, I am happy happy happy! Paints will come later. It's not like I don't have plenty to play with as it is, right!!?]
Anyways, Jennifer and my projects may have looked fairly easy on the videos--but they took us like 5-6 hours? Amazingly, we finished about the same time. Jennifer would have been done earlier if she had used some of the waxed thread, I think? I sent some home with her. She was battling crazy, curly string all day--ended up using the porch door knob as an extra hand--hehe!
I used waxed thread for the very first time yesterday. I was expecting it to be awkward, because it feels so thick and weird, but it didn't twist, curl, and knot up like the unwaxed string Jennifer was using. But when you did get a knot--was hard to get out--so I had to go slow, too. I'm sure Jennifer's next jounal will go much more smoothly.
My next one--I am planning on trying to make an actual book cover like we did in the class at Concordia--but using watercolor paper inside, of course. That is the plan, anyways!
BUT--definitely NOT today--hehe! I have been doing too much for several days and have been taking the new stronger pain pills twice a day. So--time off. R&R. Feel the pain. I don't want to get hooked on the narcotics. It would be too easy for me to do, you know? When you have taken the pain pill you don't realize you are overdoing it--then it wears off and you are in extra pain, so you need a pain pill--and so it goes. My normally quiet, peaceful days where I do my little this and that in my hour sessions a few times a day--well, I can usually tolerate my normal pain level without medication. I am blessed to have that option.
And so--I will not be doing a lot the next few of days. But that is just fine. Karma will get to cuddle more. And I will have more letter time. It was all worth it--hehe! :)

Monday, May 26, 2008


Very chilly in here this morning! I had the porch door and the bedroom window wide open all night and it got down to 37 degrees, I guess. No wonder most people obsess on the weather up here. Things like this should teach me to pay closer attention, eh? Only 45 degrees right now. And they have turned the heat off for the summer already, apparently--well, it is May--and you don't expect it to be in the 30s in May!? Nutty weather!

It has been slowly warming up in here a little since I shut the place up, but I emailed Jennifer to warn her to wear layers--hehe! I have sweaters and a sweatshirt she can use if she doesn't read it before she comes over. Me--I would rather it was cool than hot, any day! I am sitting here in a short-sleeve T-shirt and wet hair! Little cool for me--not that bad, but I do recognize other people's need for warmth--hehe! Me--I kind of retain and manufacture my own heat these days--chuckle!

Going to be a fun day! Jennifer picked me up a brush pen and a box of refills from Wet Paint down in St. Paul this weekend. She was down for the day hitting the used books stores and art supply stores--what fun! I have heard so much about these Pentel Pocket Brush pens online--going to be fun to play with. But--not today! Today is journal making day! :)

Oh funny! As I was writing this I just got an email from Jennifer and she had her patio door cracked open all night and her place was cold, too--hehe! So she is well aware. Funny! Funny! She is off to buy some supplies and then she'll be over. Going to learn something new today!!

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I know...I know...lost my mind! Spent all day yesterday making all these bookcards! This top picture shows all the ones with heavier paper for covers and five sheets inside (20 little pages)...

...and these are the ones with thinner cover paper and four sheets inside (16 little pages).

I had pre-cut all the covers and inside sheets months ago, as you know. Had also pre-folded a slew of cream inside paper (only had to fold for three of these)--so I just did them assembly-line method. I sat and punched holes off and on till I got those done. Then matched embroidery thread colors--cut a hunk--and stacked them up. All that was left was to sit in my chair and sew them together as I watched a couple of movies yesterday. :)

Did I overdo it yesterday? Of course. But I took one of my new pain pills so I could sleep last night and it worked well. (The sleeping pills the doctor gave me don't do a thing?) I am washing clothes today, so I might need another one--but it just feels so good to finally be feeling some bursts of energy after my long, sickly winter! I was just having such a good time! :):) hehe!

Well, other than washing clothes, I won't be doing anything else very physical today. (I was going to be good yesterday, tho, wasn't I--hehe!) I will be good today, tho, and recover so that Jennifer and I can make journals tomorrow. :) I am just so happy to be feeling more back to my normal!! Was a long, long winter!

Very warm right now. 78 degrees. Supposed to hit 80 today. Too warm for me. Uncomfortable. Need to go get the fan set up, I guess. Nice for people off picnicing with family, tho. I hope everybody has nice weather tomorrow for Memorial Day. :)

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Was another gorgeous day yesterday--made it into the 70s. I was busy on the computer--organizing bookmaking websites and YouTube videos in my favorites for my projects. I got done with one of my online sessions and noticed that I hadn't seen Miss Karma for some time.
Now Karma does love hide and seek in the first place. Has always enjoyed it when I can't locate her. For example, she thinks I can't see her when she's under the covers in the bed and won't make a peep or move a muscle. She likes to play hiding games--especially at night. She hides or I hide--and we leap out at each other.
Anyways, I really began to wonder where she had hidden herself this time. I looked in all the usual places--no Karma.
This is where I finally found her!

I had taken all the packing paper and put it in a Target bag to kind of corral it into one spot. I thought Karma had been pawing some of it out of the bag--which is just like her to do that, of course. No--she is inside of there--inbetween masses of packing paper. She remained in there for hours yesterday--deep snooze! Cats! Gotta love em'!
Yesterday I cleaned off the table from previous projects--got it all ready for making journals!

After watching all my videos and going over all my instructional websites (videos are much, much better for me), I decided to start with the small, pre-cut stack of watercolor paper that I already had (above-next to the lamp on the left). I folded them in half--there were three different sizes--to come up with three different small watercolor journals I could try to make.

Left top corner of the mat--an actual covered book style. I have four pieces of bookcover material in plain colors that I can use to cover the light cardboard I have cut and ready there. I clamped the sections down to try to press them (red bulldog clamps). Watercolor paper is thick! I think these are all 140 lb weight. I guess I need more bulldog clamps--hehe!

Bottom lefthand side--used the paper I had the most of and was the largest (silver bulldog clamp) for the red leather scraps from Leah! I want to have the open coptic binding with the thick leather covers.

But, of course, that means I have to practice the coptic sewing. On the right-hand side I have two pieces of cardboard to fit that size paper stack (above with ruler across it). Now, I am not sure if I will actually try to cover and use the cardboard after I have slept on that idea? Doesn't seem as good an idea as it did in the middle of the night--hehe! Might have to find something a little better to practice on. Regardless--the red leather will be the later project--after I know more what I am doing. :)

Yes--I have been slowly sleeping my way around the clock again. Up later and sleeping later--but sleeping oh so well! This is my absolute favorite weather! 60s-70s during the day and 40s-50s at night--love it! Not to hot in the daytime and nice and cool for sleeping with the window cracked open at night. So fleeting in the spring and fall...precious days to me!

Last night I was up until 4am and got up at noon. For days I have been sleeping 10 hours--and well--so I guess I am lucky to be up right now--hehe! It was the wind. Howling, beating, whistling, pounding--and the rattling of the dryer vent against the building! I was going to wash clothes--but I guess I'll wait until tomorrow...or whenever the wind dies down...or eventually changes direction--hehe!

Something changed after that day the dryer vent pounded against the building and I thought my dryer was broken--hehe! Maybe the vent got bent in the violent wind or something? I've lived here over three years and had never heard that sound. You cannot miss it. My washing clothes on the wrong windy day that one day started something with the dryer vent I guess--hehe! At least I know what it is. And it is not very loud right now. Would be scary loud when I shut off the dryer--shakes the wall! I'll pass!

I had such a burst of energy last night--I think it would be a good idea to rest today, anyways. Pretty sore. Sounds like a plan! It is a holiday weekend, after all, right? chuckle! Have a great weekend!

Friday, May 23, 2008


When I pull a chair over to work on the magic paper this is quite an interesting event to Miss Karma. You can tell how quiet our life is here if moving a chair is a big excitement in her life--hehe!

She always jumps up on the chair to steal a few minutes before I am ready to sit down and practice--and kick her off--hehe!

I told you it is difficult to ever get pictures of my magic paper practice--because it dries so fast and I am so slow--hehe! :) I guess I need to have the camera right there next to me--chuckle! Anyways, this is what I do for fun and relaxation. No worries! Not wasting any paper or ink. Can try out my various brushes. Practice the strokes. And--poof! Gone! Just using water, so I don't even have to clean the brushes!

I have mostly been working on orchids and bamboos--still. :) I am having trouble with finding the right brush to use for the bamboo trunks--or the right technique. They are much harder than they look. All of it is, really. The paintings can look so simple and serene--but they are very difficult to accomplish. Funny how excited you can get over a good bamboo leaf or a graceful orchid leaf. The rest of it might be poor--but you can have this one perfect stroke! Practice and time are definitely the secret to Chinese brush painting. :)

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Here's the picture of where they started the flooring--on the end of the room where the kitchen will be. On the left is the little walk-in pantry.

They made it about halfway (Leah told me on Monday) so that they could have the cabinets installed. The installers came and told them that they do not remove the cabinets from the boxes! So Dagan and Leah had to reschedule.
And here is where all the cabinets were--back in the master bedroom. The construction company has moved them from room to room a few times. I have not heard when they rescheduled--so I don't know if the cabinets are in yet or not. Dagan and Leah are soooo busy, I hate to even call them. I wait until I hear something or there are new pictures. :)

Speaking of--here's the master bathroom--they had begun tiling in here, also.

This is where the sinks will go.

Here's the master shower.

Close up of the tiles slanting to the drain.

They have been very busy and will be so for quite a while. Nice to see the progress. So exciting! Starting to get an idea, now, of what it will look like when it is finished. These pictures were probably taken last weekend. Can hardly wait to see the new pictures!!
Another gorgeous day! :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Finished the page spread--three more EDM challenges!

This was the first time I tried watercolors in the Moleskine regular sketchbook (with the manilla colored pages) and it did not go well. Bled through on both of them. I won't do that again. But--you know me--I started the EDM challenges in this particular Moleskine and have been doing them in, I will continue to fill this one up first. Just can't use watercolors in this one. The bicycle was my first "scribble" sketch done only in ink (no pencil first), BTW.
Pictures of the house and what Dagan and Leah have been working on!
This is the tile in the laundry room. All done!

Then--this is the bamboo flooring upstairs. First they laid out that pink paper and then laid out the actual flooring to get an idea of how it would look, how to place the shades of color, and how the cutting will go. Going to look really nice! They are cautious, of course, never having done these projects before. :)

Then they started laying the flooring on the end of the room where the kitchen will be.
Dang it! I just deleted the picture by accident. I would have to delete the blog and start all over again--you can't add a picture after you have started--will only show up on the top of the blog. Well, I am not going to start the entire blog over again, so I'll have to show you tomorrow.
Been cool days (50-60s)--sunny! 55 right now. Beautiful out! Supposed to be like this until the weekend--then rain again. Hope they're right! :)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Couldn't resist helping out the economy a little before June with my stimulus rebate--hehe! I had wanted to order some of the things OAS has for mounting (in the cardboard tube are large mounting papers). The paper weights were on sale (my own attempts didn't work out very well--so far) and a DVD on bamboo and orchids for beginners was on sale for $18.00. The booklet to the right goes with the video--so you get a step by step little book with the video. I couldn't resist. I have never seen anything by Ning Yeh.

All the packing paper will be recycled, of course, into handmade paper!

My other order from arrived, too, yesterday. I found a place where I can order tins! The large ones don't have a solid cover (clear plastic), but I don't mix paint in the covers anyways. I laid some large pans inside to show how you could easily get 12 pans with room for travel brushes.

The smaller ones are the exact same size as an Altoids tin! And I think the larger ones are the size of those large Altoids tin that cost like $7.99 during the Holiday season in the winter--if you can find them (we looked last Christmas--no luck). Shipping is high--but they package really well--box inside of a box with peanuts and everything wrapped (I also got a couple of glass things). Even tho the shipping was high (11.64)--the tins and jars were so low that it made it worth it, for sure! The large tins were 80 cents! And the smaller ones were 64 cents. No minimum order. I am one happy camper!

Yesterday was cooler--in the 50s--and raining off and on all day. I started on the EDM sketchbook again. The next challenge was "draw an eye". Was the first time I have used watercolors in the "sketch" Moleskine (vs. the watercolor Moleskine). Not made for painting--came thru a little on the back side. I loved my eyes, tho! Had to show them to you even if I didn't finish the entire page spread yet.

Got the pictures off the Internet--and the big eye was heavily made up with mascara. Harder than I thought to draw. The bottom two eyes are baby's eyes. Anyways, felt good to be sketching and painting!!
Today--Caroline is coming. So, I have to get moving. Slept later....and well! :)

Monday, May 19, 2008


Karma spent most of the entire day and night inside the wardrobe rack. I didn't have the heart to roll it back yesterday--hehe! Morning...



She would leave to eat, drink, go to the catbox, and walk through the porch to check for bugs--but return to her cozy spot. I'd say she spent 80% of the time in there yesterday--hehe! I think maybe she remembers that the rack only comes in briefly twice a year. She began an intense begging routine as soon as I first zipped it up--hehe! But--today it goes back--regardless--begging or no begging. Takes up too much room in here. Goodness! The things Karma considers her own!
Has been back in the 60s during the days. Cloudy with sprinkles or light rain off and on the past few days--and the sun peeks out here and there. Quite dark to the east this morning and no sun. Yup! I just turned on the news and it says scattered thunderstorms today. If we do get rain, I hope we do get a thunderstorm! I love the high drama of a good thunderstorm. The air has that clean, clear smell afterwards--the grass stands high and the leaves shoot out--ahh!
I hope everybody is sending prayers and healing energy to China--and money or assistance if you are able, of course. The earth has been tulmultuous and violent in so many countries these past few years--alterations, changes. It is a comfort to see people reaching out and helping each other in times of need. We are capable of great empathy, love, and generosity. Makes you proud to be part of the human family. Wish we could remember who we are all of the time--not just in times of crisis and trauma. But--any time we remember is a good and beautiful thing.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Karma's newest toy--wasp in a jar!

Started to rain for a little while in the afternoon, so I brought it inside.

Karma was glued to that jar for over two hours. (I was waiting for the wasp to slow down and run out of breath before I let it go.) Then I carried the wasp downstairs and let it go outside. Now I know what to do with the bugs that make it inside the porch! I've only had a wasp a couple of times in three years. It is usually flies and moths. Those gaps on the bottom of the screen let them in if they are crawlers. Luckily mosquitoes are too dumb--hurray!!
Since it was rainy yesterday, I did the inside job. Brought down the summer clothes and shoes...

...and traded them for the winter clothes and shoes--which I will roll back over to the storage area today. Karma has been having fun sleeping in the bottom of it--hehe! Cried and pawed at the plastic for me to open it back up.

I like the idea of catching the bugs in a jar instead of killing them--or Karma eating them. (She eats flies and moths.) I was afraid she'd try to eat the wasp when she discovered it and it is difficult to do more than stun a fly on that wobbly screen with a flyswatter (then I had to swat them on the floor to kill them). I was afraid to be swatting away at a wasp! So I got a jar.
I used to catch all my flies with a jar for my turtles, chameleons, and various critters. Oh, and the grasshoppers for the abandoned Flicker babies when I was a kid. Had to shake them violently in the jar to stun them before they were fed to the Flickers or the turtles. Chameleons, on the other hand, must have the chase or they lose interest. Sounds so cruel, doesn't it? But I used to always catch bugs in the house and let them go outside (when I had no pets to feed them to--circle of life). When did I stop doing that and start killing them without thought? Giving their death no purpose?
These bugs will be the lucky ones. Caught to be freed and not to be eaten by some pet of mine--hehehe! They'll just have to serve their time as a Karma toy instead of ending up as a Karma treat. Karma does not need those bugs to survive--obviously. No circle of life neccessity there! So, it's not a bad deal for the bugs, eh? Karma only moves them gently and doesn't send them spinning across the floor. I will try to catch them from now on. Let them live out their life elsewhere. I will feel better when I am doing less murdering on my porch. :)